Saturday, January 13, 2007

Things I Paid for at Gunpoint Today: (Vol 4) "What Makes Canadian Kids Fat?!"

You may not want it, but so help you you'll pay for it! A lively look at ludicrous state largesse, and where that saliva-dripping bite of your paycheck is going.

Health problems have plagued mankind ever since the first earthlings were deposited on this nebulous and chaotic rock by benevolent extraterrestrials well over five hundred years ago, according to L Ron Hubbard. And while medical science has undoubtedly advanced beyond our usage of stone hammers and trained weasels in the performance of lobotomies, some stubborn nonsense just refuses to let go.

For example, even after certain human behaviours are determined beyond any doubt to produce specific and predictable outcomes, a society reluctant to confront uncomfortable yet obvious truths will start to approach the problem circuitously, looking for the sorts of solutions that ensure nobody will feel bad, negligent, or just plain freaking lazy. Turns out you can also make a nice living doing just that. Hence, we have the Canadian Institute of Health Research's ( generous contribution of 2.8 million of your dollars, devoted to solving the labrynthine enigma of just what makes kids fat?

"We need to learn more about childhood obesity in order to provide Canadian children with the opportunity to become healthier adults," said Alan Bernstein, the president of the Canadian Institute of Health Research (CIHR)"

How, dammit?!

Rumor has it that Bernstein's official statement originally read as something closer to: "I won't lie to you, we need some serious, cold-cash funding here. Bucketloads of cash, and keep it coming, you Hutts. Let's be real. Everyone and their dog knows it's basic lifestyle issues making most kids fat, hence the lack of private research capital interested in medically solving this medically-unsolvable asinine non-problem. Martini!"

The fact that a panel of trained apes could give a fairly comprehensive review of the problem in less time than it takes your average overweight kid to log into an all-weekend World of Warcraft session while microwaving his Pizza Pops is apparently of no concern. For you see, the chief concern of government agencies of all stripes is to legitimize their existence for as long as possible by 'looking busy'. One way this is done is by launching highly lucrative investigations aimed at telling us the insultingly obvious. Much like recent PSA ads all over Toronto sternly reminding us grownups that water from the bathroom tap can get really, really hot. How I wish I were joking.

Hence, what came obviously to our ancestors dating back to the Mesopotamians, must apparently be re-learned, and re-told for the benefit of the public, in what can only be described as some vast experiment dedicated to weeding from the human species all common sense. Much like animals bred into domestic dependence until they lose all homing instinct, and cannot venture half a block off an owner's property without becoming hopelessly lost and run over by a Kennedy. I foresee a Wellsian future in which timid humanoids are burned preparing their baths, and immediately curse the Morlocks, or possibly Ujjal Dosanjh in panic and terror for not having provided in advance the necessary pamphlets explaining the fathomless mysteries of 'hot water'.

"Childhood obesity has tripled over the past two decades," Ujjal Dosanjh added. "Obesity is a serious and complex issue that requires a multi-faceted approach, which the Government of Canada is committed to supporting research that will help find solutions."

The end result of this 'multi-faceted' approach and three million dollars of research will in all likelihood be a couple hundred public-service billboards and glossy pamphlets dropped off at schools, adorned with a radical, scientifically-determined admonition to eat vegetables, cut down your Playstation time, don't drink Pepsi with breakfast, and get outside once in a while you stupid kid.

In short, everything that everyone, everywhere, has known forever.


Meanwhile, parents too busy/lazy to keep an eye on anything their youngster does will snicker with a hint of self-righteous adulation, thinking "Well everyone knows that! So many bad parents out there, no accounting for human stupidity I suppose! Who's up for a double-bacon melt with a cup of refreshing pork gravy?"

Said parents pat themselves on the back for being part of the elite minority, little Johnny gets his Playstation 3 and spends another hundred weekends becoming progressively gelatinous, a bevy of bureaucrats lean back and crack their knuckles with indecent grins, everyone's a little poorer, and the cycle of cellulite continues. And all because Ujjal Dosanjh can't hold a job at Taco Bell.

What I would've preferred to have for my money:

-"Reflections: The Complete Poetry of Tom Selleck"

-"More than Madrigals: Madonna Plays your Renaissance Favorites"

-Information needed by Jack Bauer


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